Righteous and Pursuing Righteousness

I know this blog is a day late, and to be honest, it isn’t the blog I intended on posting this week either, but after a good Gospel-centered discussion I had with my pastor and a few others from my church today, it is where my mind has been. I know that this is something that I continually need reminded of in my Christian walk, and since it is at the forefront of my thoughts, I figured this is what I’d post instead.

I simply want to ask you two questions about your life and how you view yourself in Christ and hopefully push you on in your sanctification efforts.

QUESTION 1: ARE YOU GETTING BETTER?

The first thing that I want you to look at your life and ask is, in view of what Christ has done in your life, are you getting better? By that I mean that for most Christians we can look back five or ten years and see the person we used to be, and then look at ourselves now and realize that by God’s grace, we aren’t that person anymore. We have been made more like Christ as time went on.

So what about today? Are you living a life that is pursuing Christ in such a way as to continue moving forward? Or have you stagnated? Do you see a need for more sanctification? Or do you think that this is as good as it’s gonna get?

I hope your answers lean towards knowing change still needs to happen and that you are continuing to purse Christ for that change. But the reality is, looking back at who we were and realizing the great work God has already done in us, sometimes that alone can seem so miraculous that getting any better seems incomprehensible. In fact, if you are like me, most major sins aren’t an issue any more, yet the sins we do struggle with seem so ingrained in who we are, that we either think it impossible to overcome or not worth the fight at all. And yet, the fight to put our sin to death  is still supposed to be the ongoing pursuit in our move toward Christ-likeness.

This is why Martin Luther said that the life of the Christian is one of continual repentance. That means that just when we think the filthiness of our hearts is beginning to get clean, God will move us deeper in Him and reveal a whole new level of sinfulness within us, and we return to square one and begin again putting that sin to death.

On the other hand, though, if we are continually being shown our sinfulness and can’t ever be perfect this side of eternity, then why try at all. Why not wait until we get to the other side and God cleans us up completely? This leads to the second question.

QUESTION 2: DO YOU BELIEVE THAT YOU ARE ALREADY HOLY AND BLAMELESS IN CHRIST?

If we are daily in the trenches, battling to put our sin to death, for many of us it becomes a difficult thing to see ourselves as already holy and blameless in the eyes of God. Sure, we know that at death, when we stand before Him, there is a transformation that will have taken place in our passing, and we will be completely restored in the image of Christ. But the Bible, contrary to how we may feel, really does teach that we are already in perfect standing with God, even before our flesh is all cleaned up. That is the reality of what Christ did on the cross when He took our sin into Himself and imparted His righteousness to us.

2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For our sake he (that is God) made him (Jesus) to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” And then Colossians 1:21-22 tells us, “you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him…”

To be honest, I think it is the need to biblically answer the second question, seeing ourselves as “holy and blameless” in Christ that enables our continual battle with our sinfulness in response to the first question. This is why Ephesians 2:10 tells us that we have been created anew in Christ and that in Him we are both called to good works and have the ability to walk in them.

So where are you at today? Do you see yourself as righteous now because of the work of Jesus Christ in the past? You should. And are you getting better? I hope so. If not, then my prayer is that today will be the day you pick up the battle again and pursue Christ for some needed change.

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